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How is the Vintage Microtube as a Transparent Tube Overdrive?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Bassheart365, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. Bassheart365


    Oct 19, 2014
    Northern California
    "A good bassist determines the direction of any band." - Ron Carter
    So I'm looking for an "always on" tube emulator pedal that is fairly transparent I really like Dark Glass pedals. I'm thinking about buying a Vintage Microtubes, but all of the youtube vidio reviews I've seen for the pedal emphasize the heavy distortion. I don't play metal.
  2. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right?

    Apr 9, 2012
    Occasional Beta Tester for Confusion Studios, Singular Sound, and Source Audio
    In general, Darkglass is not considered to be particularly transparent. The B3K/B7K has a strong tone coloration (I owned a B7K, now a B7K Ultra), and my understanding is that the same is true of the VMT series.
    Veldar likes this.
  3. Dominick C.

    Dominick C.

    Jul 2, 2012
    Austin, Tx
    I don't like mean people or mean comments....
    The Honey Bee, Blue Berry, fifth gear, and sonic spark are the ones I've found to work the best for me. I hear good things about the barbershop. My current favorite is a HBOD into a3BOD. It's perfect.

    There is a barefoot uber bee in the classifieds and I'm selling a Fifthgear.
  4. Noylin


    May 28, 2014
    I wouldn't call it transparent either - the vmt has a distinct midrange emphasis. The breakup is tight and punchy, but it does fantastic in the low gain tube sound role. That said, the blend knob can increase how transparent the sound is - for a long time I set the vmt with 65-75% dry signal and it sounded fantastic
  5. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    My VMTD, at very low drive settings, has a strong resemblance to my 1970 Traynor Bassmaster YBA-1A. The DG Vintage circuit has a less distinctive nature than the DG BxK circuit, to my ears.
    arrowsun likes this.
  6. TrentB

    TrentB Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2010
    Orange County, Ca
    I use the VMT for my always on light overdrive and I love it. I've got the Ultra on my pedalboard and the original VMT for home use. Ive tried the Barbershop, Blueberry, Agro and the Blowerbox and the VMT sounds about perfect for me. It does have a mid voicing but I think that helps in a band mix. I also use the B3K for heavier grind.
    arrowsun likes this.
  7. Bassheart365


    Oct 19, 2014
    Northern California
    "A good bassist determines the direction of any band." - Ron Carter
    Yeah, I like a dry-wet blend option.
  8. Noylin


    May 28, 2014
    The darkglass blend is one of the best in the biz

    I'm also using dingwall and greenboy btw, with lots of watts in between :D
    cheechi and arrowsun like this.
  9. SickAura

    SickAura Let There Be Rock

    Dec 8, 2013
    I've been using a VMT and now a VMTD for a while - always on light/mild grind. As others have mentioned it is not transparent but with the blend and drive knobs I have found tones that just work for me in both my Blues band and hard rock/metal band and its really easy to dial in.

    I've been through a few others and from my experience, opinion, YMMV, not trolling etc etc:

    B3K - too metal, too mid-cut, kept getting lost in the mix
    VTDI - sounded too much like my Ampeg head - so whats the point? The overdrive added too much clank
    Ampeg SCR - more distortion than overdrive (great practice tool though)
    BlueBerry - close second to the VMTD but was either too dark or too middy - not as easy to dial in
    and now I'm auditioning a Barbershop - which is very transparent and responsive - I haven't had a lot of time with it but the soft and medium weight hits sound great - the harder hits take it to a harsher tone that I am not sure I dig

    I hope this helps
    BrBss and arrowsun like this.
  10. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    Transparent overdrive? the overdrive will colour your tone. If you want transparent, look for a boost.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
    Plucky The Bassist and +6dB Dan like this.
  11. That's funny. With my Ric I used the B3K andVMT together and the B3K would cut through while the VMT would fill out my tone. If you are a low mids guy, I could see how the B3K alone would thin out your tone and make it not cut, though. It seems to accentuate the 2-3K high mids nicely for me, and let me slice through a mix.
  12. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    This sounds like what I'm looking for. I don't know why, but I thought the VMT would scoop the mids. You are saying it emphasizes them. Hmmmmm.
  13. jsper


    Jul 14, 2014
    Vintage definitely has plenty of mids. You can always upgrade to the Vintage Deluxe or Ultra so you can EQ more/less midrange
  14. Honch

    Honch Guest

    Sep 7, 2006
    Define transparent. I have yet to hear/see anyone being able to explain this to me so I understand it. It's like some priest is trying to explain to me what God is. No matter how wordy, and elaborate, it still left me cold, and none six pence the wiser... ;)
  15. groovaholic

    groovaholic The louder the better. Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Mount Prospect, IL
    A transparent OD is one that would affect gain without altering EQ, which is pretty %#^* difficult since distortion tends to shift the frequency spectrum up toward the higher harmonics.

    So, dirt pedals need a certain amount of filtering to not sound buzzy or raspy -- and the application and type of that filtering has EVERYTHING to do with how we perceive the resulting sound.
  16. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    No you can't. The mids control is at a different frequency and Q to the big mid scoop. The EQ "tone" is baked in and outside of a very big graphic EQ...you are stuck with it....and no a blend control doesn't clear it out either....that just dials the pedal's sound out to zero.

    The reason the VMT is so popular is that it's EQ is really well voiced to cut through a busy sound stage. But on it's own or solo...that EQ is pretty strong and a million miles away from transparent. If you want to add a layer of grit to an existing tone that you are happy with...ie the OP's request then the Barbershop is probably the way to go. If you want a dirt pedal to make your messed up chain punch through on a loud sound stage and don't care how it messes with your tone...then the VMT is the way to go.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
    monsterthompson likes this.
  17. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    Err...no....a boost just adds volume / gain. An transparent overdrive clips the signal (at unity if needed) but still leaves the basses natural tone intact. A great example of this is a F airfield Barbershop OD. What goes in, comes out with a mild overdrive and no messing with the tone or clarity.
  18. KillerEddie


    Aug 10, 2016
    HEX English muff'n with some Y7s in it. The stock ones are weak so you'll want to upgrade though. You can get a nice clean overdrive out of that pedal. Especially if running into a tube amp but even if not
  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I'm primarily fingerstyle, my #1 bass is an active Sadowsky P5 with rounds. The B7K is my #1 pedal for hard rock, with or without other dirt pedals. Sits in the mix beautifully, and cuts right through it when necessary. ;)

    So much depends on the player's tone goal, technique, and equipment. A pedal that works great for one person might not work for another even if they're going for the same tone.
    wmmj, Reverend179 and FaithNoMan like this.
  20. SickAura

    SickAura Let There Be Rock

    Dec 8, 2013

    Yeah I know - I have read/heard that a lot which is why I bought and sold a B3K 2x and had it on my board for quite a while before giving it up for good.

    At the time I was using a '75 AVRI Jazz with Dimarzio Model J's in a loud rock/metal setting with 2 guitars.

    It sounded great solo though - especially with the VMT in front of it - so i kept it around for a quite a while

    It was probably my settings though - which were not extreme by any means - but the sweet spot with the B3K for me just didn't work in a band situation.
    FaithNoMan likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 22, 2021

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